My fingers are trembling as I begin this post. You see, I am preparing to bear my soul. My heart races; I brace myself. I wonder what others will think of me after I make this confession.
You see, I have an addiction. You see, I am . . . oh, crap, I don't know if I can go through with this.
You see, I am a bibliophile. I said it. I love books. Not just reading them, but owning them as well. My compulsion started in college. I had experimented with books recreationally – with my friends – but now I had to purchase books for class. And I also, as fortune would have it, I fell into the wrong crowd. I had friends who enjoyed going from bookstore to bookstore, binging on "Book and Paper" shows.
Pretty soon I was buying books instead of beer (guys will buy the beer). And I knew it was becoming a problem when I started purchasing books by category – not just poetry, but my own brand of eclectic poetry. For the bibliophile, books are like drugs or alcohol. I have a book of poems written by an English clockmaker – that seems to be a kind of micro-brew. I tasted his words, and while curling up with that early 19th century book, I know that few have tasted those words on one's lips in Georgia. It's not great poetry, but it reminds me of Robert Burns' "Ode to A Louse" (not the quality but the strangeness).
And when I felt dirty, I got into the heavy stuff – romance novels, the crack cocaine of the book world. You can start a romance novel on a Friday night, and by 10:30, you feel the effects – the warm feeling "down there," the emptiness one feels afterwards, and the shame of polishing off the paperback in an evening. Oh, the shame. Now that I have written that, perhaps romance novels are like junk food more than crack cocaine. Because of the guilt and emptiness. Still a vice.
Then there are certain classics – like Moliere. They are like the port wine of books. It is something I enjoy, but as I am reading it, I know there are subtleties that I miss. There is humor lost on a 21st century gal. Plus, like a good port, I can sip and put it down, not needing to finish the bottle.
When I started collecting the same book but different imprinting, judging the bindings, scouring for first editions, I knew I was hopelessly lost in my addiction. Hubbie and I are childless and we don't have cable, so when he is not pawing my privates, we read in bed. And when he is romantic, he reads my poetry to me. Goodness, he is my co-dependent spouse.
Dr. ~Deb, a new reader of mine, probably has some experience in addiction, but probably not this particular addiction. I know I have a problem, but I just don't want to stop. I like the feeling I get when lost in a book. Or just looking for books in an old bookstore.
I have a problem. I am a bibliophile. And I (sob) can't help myself. I am so ashamed. But the books feel so good.
2 days ago